My attempt to blog all of the entries from the book 1001 Albums to Hear Before You Die
Brief Background: The Stranger is the fifth studio album from Billy Joel and his first smash, selling over ten million copies in the U.S. alone. It was recorded in two months during the summer of 1977 and was released in September of that year.
What I think: I’ve never really known how seriously I want take Billy Joel, and have always in a guilty pleasure sort of way really liked his greatest hits, but I think this album proves to me that he can be taken seriously. “Just the Way You Are” and “She’s Always a Woman” can easily be dismissed as cheesy and over done, but if taken sincerely they are really truthful and effective documentations on the ups and downs of love. So, going forward with that mindset, we have a really great album. “Scenes from an Italian Restaurant” and “Vienna” don’t do a lot for me, but the reset is solid. My favorite is “Only the Good Die Young”, which I’ve loved since I was a child growing up in a Catholic household. I don’t think I even got what the song was actually trying to say until someone pointed it out to me well into my twenties. A lot of the non-singles on the album are great as well, with “Get it Right the First Time” and “Everybody Has a Dream”, but the title track, “The Stranger” is probably my favorite of these. It seems to me to be a unique sound for Joel.
Do I agree or disagree with the writers as to this being an album you must listen to? I do think it should be here, it’s a solid album with a nice emotional an narrative arch.
Rating (Out of 5) 4
Is this my first time hearing this album? No (86/382)
Percentage of Albums that are new to me: 78%